By James Kay
Lyons Township High School's boys swim team hosted Oak Park and River Forest's squad on Dec. 13 for its third meet of the season. The Lions lost 112-73 to the Huskies, but LTHS coach Erin Rodriguez wasn't focused on the final result compared to the progress made early on this season.
"It was a tough meet," said Rodriguez.
"They have some really talented swimmers and they have been a younger team the last few years, so those boys are now juniors and seniors. While we ended up losing, the boys swam well and had some of their season bests which helps us keep perspective at this point in the season."
Quinn Collins (freshman), A.J. Vitek (sophomore), Jack Wanless (sophomore) and Aidan Foley (sophomore) are getting their first taste of being on varsity this year. The team lost Michael Walsh, who won four medals at state last year, to graduation and didn't have Jack Thorell versus OPRF. Thorell was absent this past week participating at an event in Washington with his club team.
LTHS has been on a roll in recent years, finishing first overall at the ISHA state finals in 2016 and 2017, second in 2018 and fifth in 2019.
"We have a lot of new faces, which is exciting since we have had a lot of the same boys stepping up for our program," said Rodriguez. "This year, a lot of sophomore and juniors are going to be stepping up and it'll be interesting to see how they take it and how they react and contribute to the team this season."
Vitek won the 100 yard backstroke (57.62 seconds) and senior Mitchell Johnson finished first in the 100 yard breaststroke (1:02.80) in the Lions' lone wins on the day.
On OPRF's end, the program has seen its fair share of LTHS success the past few years and recognizes what it takes to compete against Rodriguez's squad.
"It's a west suburban conference meet which means you are going up against some of the best in the state," said OPRF's head coach Clyde Lundgren. "When you roll into Lyons Township on a Friday night, you know you have your work cut out for you."
OPRF's Benjamin Guerrero won the 200 yard freestyle (1:47.35); Frank Tirone came in first in the 100 yard butterfly (54.32) and the 50 yard freestyle (21.50); and Will Raidt placed first in the 200 yard individual medley (2:00.85) and 500 yard freestyle (4:42.83).
The Lions will face Glenbard West on Dec. 20 at home at 5 p.m. They follow that meet up with Marmion Academy High School's invitational that will take place on Dec. 21.